The Angels are the only AL West team playing today, with Joe Blanton facing Ervin Santana and the Royals in Kansas City. Having won their last four games, the Halos have climbed to a 19-27 record. They'll need to play .612 ball moving forward to have a shot at 90 wins and the playoffs. The latest out of their division:
- Angels righty Jered Weaver had a successful extended spring training start yesterday, reports Kevin Baxter of the L.A. Times. Weaver is recovering from a fractured elbow suffered in April, and he may be ready to return to the Angels next week. It's quite possible Blanton, owner of a 6.62 ERA in nine starts, is auditioning for his rotation job tonight despite signing a two-year, $15MM deal in December. I was surprised to see today that Blanton still has a positive FanGraphs WAR, because that calculation does not consider his 86 hits allowed in 50 1/3 innings.
- Reliever Ryan Madson seemed like a solid signing for the Angels in November, with only a $3.5MM guarantee. The 32-year-old had Tommy John surgery in April 2012, but suffered a setback in a rehab appearance last week. Madson and the Cubs' Scott Baker, both signed to one-year free agent deals, serve as reminders that pitchers are not a lock to return to a Major League mound 12 months after Tommy John surgery.
- The Mariners have dropped six in a row, and at 20-27, and Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner explains that "the season is lost." Cameron's plan calls for Brandon Maurer, Dustin Ackley, and Jesus Montero to be optioned to Triple-A and Nick Franklin to get a look at second base in the bigs, among other things. UPDATE: Montero will indeed be sent to Triple-A today, reports Ryan Divish of The News Tribune.
- Rangers reliever Neal Cotts has an amazing story, with a four-year gap between Major League appearances. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has the details on Cotts' comeback from Tommy John and four hip surgeries.